I am new to composting. I spent several hours reviewing this website the other day and got a lot of valuable information. I also have a copy of the book, "The Rodale Book of Composting", which I have been using as a reference.
I have a 3x3x3 compost bin, with slated sides and top, that is about Â¾ full. Three weeks ago I took an open pile of compost that I started in early July and put it in the newly created compost bin. The contents of my compost are made up of: vegetable scraps mainly from salads, some corn cobs and shucks, some beet tops, coffee grounds (I learned from this website the benefits of putting the grounds directly in the garden, which I have done now, but still have some in my compost), chopped up news paper, old brown leaves, some grass clippings (I mulch most of my grass clippings back on the lawn, but I do have some in the compost), six 5-gallon buckets of fairly fresh horse manure with sawdust, and Â½ cup of molasses mixed in a gallon of water, which I also learned from this website. I am continually adding to the compost and turning the new material in during my regular turning schedule.
I have kept the compost moist, made sure that there are no clumps, and was turning it every three days. The problem is that my compost pile was putting off some good heat, then it started to cool to 106, and now it is barley warm. I am in Massachusetts and the weather has also cooled to high 60â€™s to low 70â€™s. After reading this website I waited five days and turned it on Friday, September 1, adding in 3 of my 5-gallon buckets of horse manure and the molasses water. I had hoped that waiting longer would allow the pile to get warmer, but when I turned the pile it was not even warm, and today I checked the pile and it did not seem to be giving off much heat. I donâ€™t know what I am doing wrong.
Do I need more of something â€“ Carbon? Nitrogen? What items would you suggest I add to my compost pile?
How do I get the heat up in the pile so that it wonâ€™t freeze this winter?
I was planning on using the compost in March/April to prepare some beds for planting. What do I need to do so that my pile will continue to cook?
Any help would be most appreciated. At this point I am just confused.